“Wait, I Know a Shortcut…”

Forget the Y chromosome. Everyone knows that the primary difference between men and women is that women possess the common sense to ask for directions when they’re lost and men don’t. A recent survey of the small office, home office (SOHO) market gives this old axiom a modern proof.

Ontrack Data International Inc., a Minneapolis-based data recovery services and software company, recently surveyed 1,200 SOHO computer users in conjunction with Working Solo Inc., a business consulting company based in New Paltz, N.Y. The survey, originally designed to root out the computer needs of at-home business users, uncovered significant differences in the way men and women value data and how they seek to recover it when lost.

More than 53 per cent of the men surveyed said they never ask for help in recovering lost data, while just 29 per cent of women would eschew assistance. Less than 14 per cent of the men said they would turn to an outside consultant or retailer for help; by contrast, 26 per cent of the women surveyed said they would contact an outside source. In addition, the men place more value on customer and client files, while the women view image and artwork files as the most valuable.

Joan Schimml, marketing communications and public relations manager for Ontrack, says she has no idea why these differences exist and adds that the company has no plans at this time to respond to the survey by changing the way it creates or markets it. We’re hoping next year they’ll compare how long it took the do-it-yourselfers and the help-seekers to get their systems back up and running.